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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

September 10, 2019

The monthly value of building permits (seasonally adjusted) issued in Nova Scotia decreased 19.1 per cent in July, following a (revised) increase of 34.3 per cent in June. Nova Scotia's residential permits decreased 26.6 per cent while non-residential building permits were virtually unchanged. Monthly results for building permits are highly volatile.

The six-month moving average of residential permits trended modestly upwards through 2017 and then declined in early 2018. Afterwards, residential permits resumed an upward trend before flattening out over the first seven months of 2019. The six-month moving average for non-residential permit values remained relatively flat from mid-2017 to late 2018. In early 2019, non-residential permits have trended downward, but there have been modest gains in recent months.

The trend in Nova Scotia building permit values largely reflects the trends in the Halifax market. The value of Halifax building permits decreased 36.8 per cent in July, reflecting a 42.3 per cent decline in residential permit values and a 20.2 per cent decrease in non-residential permits.

The six-month moving average for residential permits in Halifax has been rising since mid-2016 except for a decline in the fall of 2017 and early 2018. Since then Halifax residential permits trended upward before flattening out over the first seven months of 2019. Non-residential permits in Halifax have trended down since June 2017, though there has been a rebound in recent months.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values rose 21.7 per cent in July 2019, as residential permit values increased 15.8 per cent and non-residential permit values rose by 32.3 per cent.  Non-residential permits trended upward outside of Halifax from mid-2017 to mid-2018, but have remained relatively flat since then. Residential permits have trended upward at a modest pace since mid-2017, but growth has been flat over the first seven months of 2019.


In total from January-July 2019, the value of Nova Scotia building permits was up 17.8 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2018. Residential permits are 29.9 per cent higher, and non-residential permits are down 5.0 per cent, year-to-date. The decline in non-residential building permits reflects declines in industrial (-41.0 per cent) and institutional/government (-0.7 per cent) permit values. Commercial permit values were up 7.6 per cent, year-to-date.

Halifax building permits were up 22.7 per cent in the first seven months of 2019 on strong gains in the residential sector (+44.1 per cent), while building permits outside of Halifax were up 10.8 per cent.

Building permits in Nova Scotia's five economic regions totaled $1.09 trillion (unadjusted) in the first seven months of 2019.  The largest contributor was the Halifax region, with a combined residential and non-residential permit value of $695.1 million. Year-to-date, the total value of residential and non-residential permits was up in all regions except Southern Nova Scotia, with the largest percentage increases in Halifax and Cape Breton.

In the first seven months of 2019, the number of residential dwelling-units created (seasonally adjusted) in Nova Scotia was up by 915 units compared to Jan-Jul 2018.  Across the province, the number of multiple units created was up.  The number of singles created in Halifax was up while it was down outside of Halifax.

Nationally, residential building permit values (seasonally adjusted) were on an upward trend in 2016 but have levelled off since early 2017. National residential building permits were up 2.2 per cent in July. Non-residential building permit values rose through 2017 and peaked toward the end of the year, remaining relatively flat through 2018.  There was a modest rise in non-residential permit values at the beginning of 2019.  National non-residential permit values were up 4.3 per cent in July.

Comparing the first seven months of 2019 with the same period in 2018, national residential building permit values were down 3.5 per cent with declines in all provinces except the Maritimes. Prince Edward Island (+52.9 per cent) showed the largest gain in residential permits in percentage terms, followed by Nova Scotia (+29.9 per cent). Newfoundland and Labrador (-31.4 per cent) showed the largest decline, year-to-date, followed by Alberta (-20.5 per cent).

National non-residential permits are up 8.5 per cent through the first seven months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.  British Columbia had the largest gains in non-residential building permits (+49.6 per cent). Newfoundland and Labrador (-40.8 per cent) reported the largest decline, followed by Alberta (-20.0 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (-17.9 per cent).

The national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was up 0.8 per cent compared with Jan-Jul 2018.  Total building permit values were up in seven provinces in the first seven months of 2019, led by Prince Edward Island (+22.1 per cent) and Nova Scotia (+17.8 per cent). Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest decline over this period (-36.9 per cent), followed by Alberta (-20.3 per cent).


 Source: Statistics Canada.  Table  34-10-0066-01   Building permits, by type of structure and type of work (x 1,000)

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